Your car’s wheel bearing is a crucial component. It enables the wheel to revolve smoothly and aids in keeping it fastened to the vehicle. Numerous issues might arise from broken wheel bearings and you will ask: How long can I drive with a bad wheel bearing?

Your car might be making a noise around the wheels, or you might notice that it isn’t handling as well as it once did. At this point, you start to question if it is safe to drive at all and how long you can continue to drive with a wheel bearing. The answer is: you should be able to continue driving for another 500 miles after the first indications of a faulty wheel bearing appear.

However, it’s not recommended. It is not safe to keep driving on a failed wheel bearing since it can cause control and stability issues.

Your automobile will vibrate and make a loud noise if it has a broken wheel bearing. The noise is typically more audible while you are moving at a faster rate of speed. It’s crucial to get your car checked out by a mechanic as soon as you hear this noise.
Your car’s wheels help keep it rolling smoothly. But what happens if your wheel bearings break? How long can I drive with a bad wheel bearing?

What is a wheel bearing?

A wheel bearing is a group of steel balls connected by a metal ring known as a race. They aid in reducing friction so that wheels can spin quickly. These bearings are connected to your axles and are found at the wheel hub. Either ball bearings or roller bearings will be in your car.

Because roller bearings can support more weight and survive longer, they are found in the majority of modern automobiles.
Every vehicle needs wheel bearings to function properly, especially the wheels, hub, and overall assembly. Your car’s tires can turn without any friction thanks to it. Wheel bearings, however, may eventually stop functioning due to wear and strain, just like any mechanical system.

How Does a wheel bearing work?

Your car’s ability to operate smoothly depends on its wheel bearings. Your wheels revolve as you drive, causing friction. Over time, this friction may harm the bearings by wearing them down. By allowing the wheels to spin freely, the bearings contribute to the reduction of this friction.

Causes of Bad Wheel Bearing

There are many things that can cause a wheel bearing to go bad. Those things are what we are going to discuss. They include

Tear and Wear

The most frequent reason for wheel bearing failure is this. Because of the friction that the moving wheels produce, bearings might deteriorate over time. For this reason, it’s crucial to have your bearings examined frequently and replaced as needed.

Bad installation of Wheel bearings

The wheel will be damaged if the wheels are placed using the wrong equipment, such as a wrench or hammer, which will cause the wheel bearings to wear out too quickly.
Additionally, using old nuts, pins, and bolts while installing new wheels and failing to replace them with new ones results in poor wheel alignment and may even result in car accidents. Every time you replace your wheel bearings, it is preferable to use fresh nuts and bolts.

Bent Axles

It is the axles that the bearings are fastened to. The bearings may be put under excessive strain if the axles are deformed, which will eventually lead to their failure.

Bad Roads

The wheels usually deteriorate as a result of your own reckless driving. Your wheel bearings can be damaged and have a shorter lifespan if you drive erratically through potholes and breakers.
The wheel bearing will deteriorate more quickly if you frequently travel on muddy and waterlogged roads. The pollutants from dirt and dust quickly penetrate tires and seals, causing corrosion that accelerates wear and tear as well as damage.

Water Damage

If the bearings are in contact with water, they may corrode and stop working. For this reason, it’s critical to maintain a clean and clutter-free vehicle.

How Long Can I Drive with a Bad Wheel Bearing? Signs of a bad wheel bearing

Disturbing Noise

Your car will make buzzing and growling noises when you turn or accelerate. When traveling on bad and uneven roads, you might hear grinding or clunking sounds from your car.


When you turn or change the speed of your car, does it vibrate? If so, note that a broken seal can cause vibrations.

The wheel bearing’s seal prevents debris from entering the bearings, ensuring that they operate smoothly and correctly without any problems.

Faulty ABS

A broken ABS can be the cause of a bad wheel bearing. Wheel bearings can occasionally become damaged as a result of traveling on bad roads, moving through rust, or moving over stones. Get your brakes checked out right away if you notice any issues.

How Safe is it to drive with a bad wheel bearing?

The primary concern when driving is safety. Because of this, worn-out wheel bearings pose a serious risk to your safety on the road. If you observe any of the aforementioned issues with your wheel bearings, it is advised that you avoid driving. A collision could happen if you do that.
The wheel is kept affixed to the vehicle and given smooth rotation thanks to wheel bearings. You could lose control of the wheel and have an accident if your wheel bearing is damaged.

If you intend to drive your car on the highway, you should fix any wheel-bearing issues right away. The faulty wheel bearing won’t force the car to stop moving, but it will make the wheels turn less smoothly.

How long can I keep my wheel bearings damaged and still drive?

Driving is difficult when a wheel bearing is damaged, therefore, it is best to get it changed right away. However, if you find yourself in a deserted location, your only option is to continue driving.
In such circumstances, the wheels may make some buzzing and growling noises. Later, you’ll notice the noise getting worse, which is a sign of a failing wheel bearing. Driving at only 40 mph and staying on the side of the road is preferable under these circumstances.

How to drive a car with bad wheel bearings

It is not advisable to drive with a bad wheel bearing. But if you find yourself in this situation, here are some necessary things you ought to do to ensure safety

Reduce speed

It’s crucial to slow down if you must drive while using damaged wheel bearings. As a result, the bearings will experience less friction and sustain less damage.

Sharp Turns should be avoided

The wheels could come free as a result of bad wheel bearings. Due to this, controlling the vehicle may be challenging, particularly during abrupt corners. If you have damaged wheel bearings, it’s crucial to stay away from sharp turns.

Low gears should be used

The amount of stress on the bearings will be lessened by using low gears. This is due to the fact that low gears make the wheels rotate more slowly.

The Wheel Bearing should be checked

It’s crucial to inspect your wheel bearings frequently if you have to drive with damaged ones. This will enable you to see any additional damage and take the required action to address the issue.

How to Prevent bad wheel Bearings

You can use a variety of techniques to prevent your wheel bearings from deteriorating too quickly.

Examine the Bearings Frequently

The easiest approach to avoiding wheel bearing failure is to periodically examine them and replace them as needed. By doing this, you can help ensure that your bearings are in good shape and can sustain the weight of the wheels in the right way.

Keep the Car Tidy

One of the numerous benefits of keeping your car clean is to avoid wheel-bearing problems. This is due to the possibility of harm from clogged bearings brought on by dirt and debris.

Prevent potholes

The bearings may become damaged and misaligned as a result of potholes. To avoid this, it’s crucial to steer clear of potholes whenever you can.


Your car’s wheel bearings are an essential component that must be properly installed and maintained. You can prevent early wheel bearing damage by properly maintaining your wheel bearings.
Even if the manufacturer says the wheel bearing will last for that amount of time, it is advised not to drive more than 500 miles or 800 kilometers if you see a faulty wheel bearing.

Remember that driving with bad bearings is risky, especially at higher speeds.

Wheel bearing damage is a major issue that needs to be fixed right away. Neglecting the issue could result in an accident. It’s critical to take safety measures if you must drive while your wheel bearings are damaged in order to prevent further harm.

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